NIH-supported study finds strategies to reduce college drinking
NIAAA-supported researchers undertook the present study, the Safer California Universities study, to address that need. Researchers conducted a trial of college and community alcohol prevention strategies at 14 large public universities in California. They found that heavy drinking at off-campus parties was reduced at universities that implemented highly visible prevention projects in cooperation with their surrounding communities. The greatest reductions were found at universities with the highest intensity of intervention implementation, achieved through heavy publicity and highly visible enforcement activities.
Akinso: Highly visible cooperative projects can reduce harmful alcohol use among college students according to a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism study.
Hingson: This was a study that was seeking to reduce binge drinking among college students.
Akinso: Dr. Ralph Hingson is the Director of the NIAAA’s Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research.
Hingson: It took place at 14 colleges in the California public universities system. They had 7 matched pairs according to drinking results on a base line survey that they had done. Then they randomly allocated half of them to receive an intervention that involved a campus community partnership working on enforcement of alcohol policies that pertained to college students.
Akinso: Interventions included nuisance party enforcement operations, surveillance to prevent alcohol sales to minors, drunken driving checkpoints, social host ordinances, and use of campus and local media to increase the visibility of the interventions. Researchers conducted random surveys of students from each of the participating schools. Dr. Hingson says the survey documented that heavy drinking at off-campus parties was a common problem.
Hingson: In their baseline surveys they wanted to find out, where are the most drinking occasion that resulted intoxication occurring. And what they found was that about half of the parties that were Greek parties or off-campus parties they responded in surveys that they were doing with college students. They reported getting drunk at least once in the fall semester at parties in those occasions which was more than the residence halls or at bars in restaurants.
Akinso: To access the effectiveness of the interventions, the researchers measured the proportion of drinking occasions in which students got drunk in various settings. Dr. Hingson discusses the findings of the study.
Hingson: What they found was that in the communities where these interventions were implemented there were reductions in drinking into intoxication.
Akinso: Dr. Hingson believes these findings should give college administrators and surrounding communities some degree of optimism that student drinking is amenable to a combination of well-chosen, evidence-based universal prevention strategies. For more information, visit www.niaaa.nih.gov. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Ralph Hingson
Topic: Binge Drinking, Alcohol, College Students
Additional Info: NIH-supported study finds strategies to reduce college drinking